Pixie Hart is a little girl with a very special ability. When she truly believes in something, it comes true! Her strong sense of self-belief has been instilled in her since she was a baby – but it does mean that some of the people in her town think she’s a little bit odd and she doesn’t seem to have many friends.
One day she goes on a school trip which involves a long hike in to the woods. They walk for miles and miles until the teacher realises that they are lost. All of the children start to panic and even the teacher is worried that they might not be able to find their way back. What on earth are they going to do?
Pixie steps forward with an idea. She thinks that if all of the children hold hands in a circle and concentrate really hard on being rescued then someone will come. It seems like a crazy idea – could it possibly work?
Ladies – I guarantee that when you read this book you will want to buy a copy for each of your childhood friends. It is stunning!
The book is about a group of four little girls who find friendship under an apple tree. Despite having very different personalities, they share stories, adventures and scraped knees, forming a bond that will last a lifetime.
The character traits that we see in the girls as children follow them in to adulthood as we watch them chase their dreams and find love (and heartbreak). Their situations change and they don’t see each other as often as they’d like but their apple tree is always there, getting stronger and growing roots that reach ever deeper.
The Snail And The Whale is one of our favourite collaborations between Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler. There’s a real sense of adventure but the rhyme is also very calming so it’s perfect for bedtime.
The story is about a little snail who longs to travel – but her family thinks she’s a little crazy and don’t understand at all! She’s determined to see the world so she hitches a lift on the tail of a humpback whale. On their magnificent journey the snail sees icebergs and volcanoes, beautiful beaches and strange animals. She is amazed at how big the world is and this makes her feel small and insignificant.
In the last few months we’ve read some fantastic self-published books and ‘Lauren Koala’ (which was recommended to us by one of our Facebook followers) is one of our faves.
The story is about a little koala called Lauren who loves to make people feel better by giving them a hug. All of the animals in the jungle know that if they feel sad Lauren will be there to comfort them. As a result, it’s a happy, joyful place filled with love.
One day, Lauren Koala hears about a rhino who is very sad because his mummy died when he was little. Determined to help, she sets off on a long journey to find him, cuddling lots of other animals along the way.
If you’re a fan of books with strong female characters then this new one from Suzanne Hemming (author of ‘She’s Not Good For A Girl, She’s Just Good‘) is definitely for you.
The story is about a young princess called Florence who has her heart set on becoming a great engineer. She has the brain and the ambition but she has one problem – her father, the King, says that instead of pursuing her dream career she has to marry a Prince and have babies.
Young Flo is devastated. She has no problem with Princes and babies but she also wants to be a great engineer and the King says she can’t do both. She flees the palace and bumps in to her old babysitter, who sits and listens to her woes. The lady tells her that you always have to be who you are, not who other people think you should be. She shows Flo a picture of her wedding day (where she married a Princess) and says that when you follow your heart, some people will accept who you are and some won’t but what matters most is that you are always true to yourself.
Until a few years ago I wasn’t aware that Ella Fitzgerald and Marilyn Monroe had been friends and that without each other they may never have reached their true potential or become the icons they are today. It’s a fantastic story and i’m so glad this book exists so that I can share it with Ivy.
The empowering tale starts with Ella Fitzgerald, a woman of colour with a truly amazing voice. She tours the country playing in small jazz clubs with her band but unfortunately there are many places where she isn’t welcome. Because of the colour of her skin, many venues refuse to let her play, including the largest and most well-known club of all.
But unbeknown to Ella, she has a fan who is soon to become a friend. An actress called Marilyn Monroe loves Ella’s music so she calls the club and says that if the owner books Ella to play for a week she will personally visit each night and sit in the front row, ensuring the paparazzi and press will be there. The owner agrees, Marilyn sticks to her word and Ella gets the opportunity to play to large audiences every night. She is a hit and becomes a huge star.
We love this book by Peter H. Reynolds and i’m not ashamed to say it made me cry the first time we read it!
Vashti is a little girl who thinks she can’t draw. Whilst all of her friends paint and create in art class, she just sits and stares at the plain white paper, defeated. Her teacher challenges her to draw a dot in the middle of the page and then asks her to sign it. She jabs a dot with her pen, signs her name and then skulks out of the classroom.
The next week when she walks in to the art room she sees her dot (and signature!) on the wall, displayed in a lovely shiny frame. Inspired, she sets out to draw a better dot and then a better dot and then an even better dot than that. Soon she’s so good at drawing imaginative, colourful dots that the schools puts them on display at an art show.
I have been reading this wonderful book to Ivy since she was just a few months old and this is our second copy as the first was so well-thumbed that it had started to fall apart! It’s written by Giles Andreae and illustrated by Guy Parker-Rees.
Gerald is a giraffe whose skills include standing still and eating leaves from tall trees. They don’t include running and they most definitely don’t include dancing, which is a shame as every year all of the animals get together for the Jungle Dance and everyone has to take part.
On the night of the big Dance, Gerald watches the warthogs, rhinos, lions, chimps and baboons take to the floor to roaring applause, but when his turn comes the reaction is very different. As soon as everyone sees him they start to laugh and call him names because they know he is so clumsy. Devastated, Gerald takes off in to the jungle where he meets a wise old Cricket who teaches him that everyone can dance – they just have to find their own song.
This beautiful little book from Amnesty International and Chris Riddell seems very appropriate right now given all of the things which are going on around the world.
‘My Little Book of Big Freedoms’ is a simplified version of the Human Rights Act with fantastic illustrations which will help your child understand each point. Showing 16 different ‘freedoms’ including family, love, hope, mercy and knowledge, it highlights why our human rights are so important and why we all need to work together to protect them.
The format takes a heavy topic and makes it really accessible for children. For parents it offers a great introduction to human rights and I would imagine it’s also a very useful tool for primary school teachers. It’s definitely one that should feature in school libraries.
The first time I read this book aloud I found myself practically singing the words because of the way they flow and bounce along. I later discovered this is because they are the lyrics to an actual song from Tim Minchin’s musical version of Matilda (which I haven’t seen yet but it’s definitely on my list).
The words take you on a journey through adulthood as imagined by a child. When there are so many rules imposed on you by grown-ups it’s easy to believe that when you become one yourself you can just do whatever you want with no consequences. The children here look forward to a future where they know the answer to every question, eat sweets and treats every day, stay up all night and watch cartoons until their eyes go square!